Go Pixel Yourself goes beyond being a new model for shopping malls, also innovating a stage for musicians


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Maverik, official DJ of the Boston Red Sox, performs at CambridgeSide’s Go Pixel Yourself on Saturday. (Photo: Maverik)

While in-person shopping has been on the decline for the past few years, the Covid-19 pandemic has taken the trend to a new level. Go Pixel Yourself’s “Multidimensional Immersive Experiences” at CambridgeSide responds by asking the question: what if going to the mall meant buying an experience rather than a product?

Along the way, it has become a staple for musicians looking for creative ways to shoot videos, and even a performance space.

Boston hip-hop artist Iyadonna says shoot him Video clip “808 Therapy” at Go Pixel Yourself allowed him to take things to a new level. Several backgrounds and sets of the art installation appear, and by borrowing the raw video and sound from the installation, producer ASAP Media was able to build a story around them.

“We were able to be so much more creative and so much more imaginative while being in the same space,” she said. “It was great for us, because especially during Covid the filming was difficult.”

Iyadonna’s “808 Therapy” video features scenes in the Go Pixel Yourself “Bling” room. (Photo: ASAP Media)

Iyadonna also performed as Go Pixel Yourself’s first musical guest, performing a socially distant set in a silent disco format last month. Visitors were given headphones so that they could listen while visiting the exhibit and the mall. “It was a great way to practice social distancing while having fun with others,” she said.

The shooting – the first of the installation – took place simply because the director of his video was a client. “People who are photographers are always looking for this stuff,” said GPY creator and creative director John Carter. Since the essence of the facility is photography anyway, often a video shoot doesn’t cost more than the entrance fee – although larger projects have to consider the commercial cost they might cost. Still, the prices are low enough that even the biggest teams “could never have booked a studio for that price,” Carter said.

Go Pixel Yourself contains 13 rooms, each with its own distinct theme, where visitors can take photos with their own cameras or use the exhibition’s built-in professional-grade system. Instagram influencer paradise, Go Pixel Yourself pushes the boundaries of what a trip to the mall can mean.

The East Cambridge Mall opened on September 13, 1990, and for years had around 80 stores as well as key tenants such as Sears and Best Buy – and, at one point, the New England Sports Museum. As the retail situation changed, the owners of New England Development asked in late 2018 to transform the third floor of the mall into offices and incorporate uses such as a large branch of Bank of America. (There’s an even more drastic change to come, as a mall becomes a mini-neighborhood with houses and offices and stand-alone labs.)

As part of the move away from the retail addiction, Go Pixel Yourself was scheduled to open in April 2020. The pandemic resulted in a delay until November, then a closure after a month until February 12, according to the reports. CambridgeSide publicists.

John Carter at Go Pixel Yourself. (Photo: Go Pixel Yourself)

While Carter said in March he didn’t know how the installation would evolve over time, he envisioned it as a place of creativity. “We dream of involving local artists in creating content for theaters,” Carter told writer Sam Baltrusis. “We also dream of a series of concerts. Video screens make great backgrounds for performers, and the audience could be right across the glass watching them play, as if they were in a New York department store window.

After making a version of it by hosting video shoots – there have been six, with two more in the works, Carter said – this month, Go Pixel Yourself takes it a step further in integrating music into the movie. space: musical guests play non-silent sets in the exhibition event space on weekends. SpringStreet, a pop-punk project by Beverly artist and producer Christopher Percy, performed its first live Friday at Go Pixel Yourself.

“It’s similar to iPhone apps and stuff like that, where you don’t have to have expert experience to get a professional looking product,” Percy said. “Having something that can be accessible to everyone and still a high quality product is something that I can really appreciate.”

Christopher Percy’s SpringStreet made a video and performed at Go Pixel Yourself. (Photo: SpringStreet)

On Saturdays, visitors have the chance to see and hear a returning Iyadonna and Maverik, a Boston artist and official DJ of the Boston Red Sox, who has high hopes for the space and what it means for the Boston music scene.

“I think it’s great and it’s necessary,” he said. “I think the battle as an artist, like with upcoming or newer artists, is finding places and other places that are going to work with you to convey your vision. Stuff like that, especially in Boston where we have so much talent and so many kids looking for an opportunity like this, it’s tied.

Carter, whose New Jersey-based Parker 3D company specializes in lighting, display cases and interactive exhibits. remembered doing an 18,000 square foot art installation found in New York City in the early 1990s that was kept a secret from the public, “so we turned down Duran Duran, the Spin Doctors, Michael Bolton and more . “

“That’s why it’s so much fun to let people do it now,” Carter said.

Tickets for the shows are included in the entrance fee to the GPY. The information is at gopixelyourself.com.

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